Thoughts and Observations on the Redskins win over the Eagles
1. Griffin played one of his better games of the last two seasons:
It wasn’t perhaps his best statistical game of the last two seasons, but Griffin had one of his better all-around games since the 2012 season. While Griffin didn’t light up the stat sheet the most important thing is he didn’t make the negative plays that have plagued him of late. Of late Griffin has made costly errors with either holding on to the ball too long, missing open receivers, or making throws without using proper mechanics that led to errant passes. While Griffin displayed a couple of those mistakes in this game he balanced it out with some really positive plays as well. He not only connected on multiple deep balls, but he threw some nice intermediate routes which had been lacking in his game of late. Perhaps the biggest positive with Griffin is that he got rid of the ball before pressure arrived more than he has in recent weeks. It wasn’t a great game by any stretch, but it was a the first game in awhile where he played well throughout the game. Now I don’t think this performance drastically moved the needle on Griffin’s future as a starting quarterback in this league or for the Washington Redskins, but it definitely didn’t hurt his case, which is a good step for the Redskins and Griffin.
2. The Defense deserves some nice credit:
The defense has been maligned all year and they by no means had a good game or “shut down the Eagles”, but they came up with some key stops that limited Philly and put the Redskins in a position to win this game. The defense forced two key turnovers, both of which led to field goals. The 2nd turnover came on the Eagles final drive when they had been moving the ball and it looked like they were going to go ahead and get the victory. it was a big interception by the rookie Bashuad Breeland and gave the Redskins a chance to go down for the winning FG.
Another big area for the defense was holding the Eagles to FG attempts on three separate occasions. Twice the Eagles missed those kicks and it kept the Redskins in the game. While it is true that had the Eagles connected on those two missed FG’s they would have likely won the game (obviously it would have changed the play calling down the stretch), the defense deserves credit for not breaking in those situations.
3. The Redskins limited their penalties:
The Redskins have been one of the most penalized teams in the NFL this year, but yesterday it was the Eagles making unforced error after unforced error. The Eagles committed a number of costly penalties that probably cost them the game (and a playoff berth). The Redskins on the other hand played a pretty clean game and didn’t get into penalty trouble. Had they done what they typically have done and shot themselves in the foot it could have shifted the balance back to the Eagles and resulted in another Redskins loss.
4. What this game means going forward:
It’s always great to get a win and use the positives from it to build for the future, and basically knocking off a division rival never hurts either, but this win should be kept in context. One thing I’ve heard is the idea that since the Redskins beat both the Cowboys and Eagles they can “play with everyone” or are “closer to the top than their record suggests”. While both wins are nice of course, this should not be some sign that the Redskins are 1-3 pieces away from being a contender. The Redskins did a nice job in these particular two games, but in most games this season they’ve played extremely poorly and we’ve seen multiple faults show up. The Redskins need to take the positives from this game, but they need to recognize the greater picture and have a proper rebuilding effort in the offseason.
Even if they were able to win next week over the Cowboys, the Redskins are still a bad football team and need to look to the future and build a sustainable contending team. This win over the Eagles is not some sign that a couple big name free agent signings are going to fix all the woes on this team. This was a fun win, but the Redskins can’t get overconfident going forward.